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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:03 am 
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I'm not exaclty sure where to post this, but I'll stick it in this category.

The famous photograph of Norfolk can be seen here. It was taken in September of 1872, as part of an artistic camera effort by John A. Todd at the California State Fair. It was identical in style to that of Thad Stevens, another surviving one from that package of images (that is, if the viewer overlooks the added “fence,” clumsily painted with its shadows comically going the wrong direction). The two photos probably were taken about a half hour apart on the same day. Photos of the remaining horses—which included Lodi, Woodburn, Occident, etc., represented cream of California blooded horses at the time—have not been located, as far as I know.

Given that approximate date, it means that Norfolk was eleven years old at the time of his iconic portrait. (To my knowledge, that has never been established until recently.) Remarkably, Norfolk looks like a much younger horse in training. I have just stumbled upon the explanation for that: he WAS in serious training again. And it was for a high-stake, highest-profile type of race. Regrettably, it was one that would never come off.

His owner, Theodore Winters, was not a delusional turfman. So, the results of Norfolk’s initial comeback training must have been promising enough for him to continue the effort which produced such a fit-looking aged animal for his class photo.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:32 pm 
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For awhile I've wondered which one of the earliest photos of American racehorses still survives. Not long ago, I read in some (forgotten)newspaper archive that Planet posed for one in Virginia circa 1860. However, the newswriter complained that it was a poor one, and, for a good one to be taken, it had to be done in New York City at that time. Maybe it was due to the shutter-speed technology, and the inability of animals to hold poses that long.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:39 pm 
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A small footnote: one will notice from the photos linked in the OP that the practice of banging tails evidently was not in vogue in California in the early 1870s. I have seen a few etchings in which they were left naturally, also.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:39 am 
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Norfolk should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. Even though his opportunities to shine were limited, he dominated everything he faced on both coasts and in between. It was the same for his stallion record.

It's past the time ...


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